Technology Forecast 2018

Here are Andy Blumenthal’s technology forecast and priorities for 2018.


1. Medical Computing – Continue the significant progress and solve the great illnesses of Cancer, Parkinson’s, ALS, Alzheimers, and so many other horrible and debilitating diseases. Along with longevity, we need to alleviate human suffering and create a higher quality of living for all people.


2. Environmental Computing – Develop more and better clean technologies that can eliminate the Great Plastic Garbage Patch and other heart-breaking garbage dumps and environmental disasters around the world–clean up, breakdown, recycle, and create a more sustainable and beautiful planet for everyone to enjoy.


3. Quantum Computing – Achieve the ultimate processing power and speed of quantum computing to enable us to solve the greatest of mankind’s problems including WMD, and cyber security threats as well as the overcome the transportation and colonization challenges to reach, explore, and settle the depths of outer space.

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Stop Playing Politics With Our Security

Another terrorist attack in NYC, not far from the World Trade Center, now memorial!


Radical Islamist mows down pedestrians and bicycle riders in a bike lane along the West Side Highway. 


– 8 innocent people dead.


– Another dozen wounded. 


Now, the Mayor and pundits say, ah maybe we should’ve had barricades up there so someone with a darn truck couldn’t do this. 


And better double up on security for the Halloween parade tonight and NYC Marathon on Sunday.


Well, as they say:

“Better late than never!”


And so it is with our nation’s borders.


As the President tries to erect a border wall and to restrict visas from countries that have not put in the necessary screening security, certain lawmakers and liberal judges keep blocking these actions. 


They don’t want to discriminate against anyone, which I agree is a noble cause. 


However, as every news station was reporting again tonight, the terrorist in NY today was shouting in Arabic that G-d is great!


This was not an innocent vehicular accident. 


There ARE people out there that want to kill us and inflict serious harm on our country. 


To those people that continue to fight rational, reasonable security measures to protect our homeland and our citizens, I say to you:

You have blood on your hands!


And unfortunately, we can rest assured that our enemies are planning plenty more to come in their incessant attacks on the West (may G-d have mercy on us).


It is time for the people of this country to demand security…to insist on a border wall…to assert our right to restrict visas to those countries that won’t ensure proper screening procedures. 


How long will we wait–how much blood will be spilled–before we stop playing politics with national and homeland security! 😉


(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

Deterrence Alone Is Not A Strategy

 

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So there is a military doctrine that has been in place for decades. 


– MAD – Mutually Assured Destruction 


If you attack the USA with weapons of mass destruction, you’ll get an overwhelming responses that will totally destroy your country. 


This was what supposedly held the USSR at bay during the cold war. 


And even recently, President Trump threatened North Korea that they would be “totally destroyed” if they try anything on us. 


The problem is that the MAD doctrine of deterrence assumes incorrectly that you are always dealing with rational actors and not with madmen.


Let’s face it, their are plenty of crazies out there, and some of whom may be willing to go down in a “blaze of glory” as long as they stand up to the United States and die a heroes death for their radicalized or “subjected” people. 


Whether it’s Iran or North Korea or others–we may not know what we are really dealing with here until it’s too late. 


Life is not everything to these people–remember many a terrorist has died a martyrs death with the promise of 72 virgins in heaven awaiting them. 


To some, as Prime Minister Gold Meir stated:

“Peace will come when the Arabs will love their children more than they hate us!”


Hate by virtue of perceived injustice, required Jihad or “holy war,” brainwashing or threats and the desire for a “glorious death” standing up to the infidels or the “great Satan…any of all of these can contribute to ignoring the consequences. 


Israel has tried to deter horrible homicide bombers/and other mad terrorists from performing their evil misdeeds on the civilian population by for example, demolishing the terrorist homes as a potent consequence that they know going into it, yet many terrorists still wear the explosive vests and detonate anyway.


Similarly, North Korea despite the President’s threat that they “will be met with fire and fury like the world has never seen,” brushed it off and shot off more volleys of ICBMs and threatened to engulf Guam in fire. 


– The point is that deterrence alone is not a strategy!


If our enemies can hit us with a devastating attack–whether WMD, cyber, EMP, or quantum attack— that can inflict immeasurable harm on us–they may actually choose to take their best shot, rather than wait for us to hit them or continue to feel disrespected, subjected, inferior, and hopeless.


To someone on the radical fringes or the mental edge, maybe–just maybe–they will do the unthinkable and surprise us.


What good will our fire and fury counterstrike do us, when our cities are in ruin and our people dead and dying en masse. 


Revenge isn’t so sweet when your family, homeland, and virtually everything you know and held dear is gone.


The only real military strategy is to be able to defend ourselves and AVOID getting a homeland catastrophe!


We need massive investment and expertise in missile defense, bio defense, cyber defense, quantum computing, and expansive hardening of our critical infrastructure.


Unfortunately, as naysayers to the threats abound, we are no where near where we need to be in protecting the homeland.


If one person falls from the high wire and smashes their head, what good is it that the other person falls and suffers similarly or worse. 


The point is not to fall, not to get hurt, not to die, not to have our country and way of life destroyed.


Deterrence does not guarantee this security to the country–especially when dealing with no shortage of radicalized nuts out there. 


Only a genuine defense that can STOP and counter the threats BEFORE a devastating attack happens and hits us is a strategy worth pursuing …and THEN you can punch the other person squarely in their devil’s face!


Without an adequate defensive strategy, get ready, because every high flying act eventually falls to the ground and hits their head hard. 😉


(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

Cybersecurity Vulnerabilities Database

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There is a very useful article in Bloomberg about how the U.S. is taking too long to publish cybersecurity vulnerabilities. 


And the longer we take to publish the vulnerabilities with the patch/fix, the more time the hackers have to exploit it!


Generally, the U.S. is lagging China in publishing the vulnerabilities by a whopping 20-days!


Additionally, China’s database has thousands of vulnerabilities identified that don’t appear in the U.S. version. 


Hence, hackers can find the vulnerabilities on the Chinese database and then have almost three weeks or more to target our unpatched systems before we can potentially catch up in not only publishing but also remediating them. 


Why the lag and disparity in reporting between their systems and ours?


China uses a “wider variety of sources and methods” for reporting, while the U.S. process focuses more on ensuring the reliability of reporting sources–hence, it’s a “trade-off between speed and accuracy.”


For reference: 


The Department of Commerce’s National Institute of Standards and Technology publishes the vulnerabilities in the National Vulnerability Database (NVD).


And the NCD is built off of a “catalog of Common Vulnerabilities and Exposures (CVEs) maintained by the nonprofit Mitre Corp.”


Unfortunately, when it comes to cybersecurity, speed is critical.


If we don’t do vastly better, we can be cyber “dead right” before we even get the information that we were vulnerable and wrong in our cyber posture to begin with.  😉


(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

Never Ever More Vulnerable

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So we have never been more technology advanced. And at the same time, we have never been more vulnerable


As we all know, our cybersecurity have not kept near pace with our ever growing reliance on everything technology.


There is virtually nothing we do now-a-days that does not involve networks, chips, and bits and bytes. 


Energy

Transportation

Agriculture

Banking

Commerce

Health

Defense

Manufacturing

Telecommunications


If ANYTHING serious happens to cripple our technology base, we are toast!


From a crippling cyberattack that disables or hijacks our systems, steals or locks down our data, or creates massive chaotic misinformation flow to a EMP blast that simply fries all our electronic circuitry–we are at the mercy of our technology underpinnings. 


Don’t think it cannot happen!


Whether it’s Wannacry ransonware or the Equifax breach of our privacy data or the Kaspersky Labs hidden backdoor to our top secret files or North Korea threatening to hit us with an EMP–these are just a few of the recent cyber events of 2017!


Technology is both a blessing and a curse–we have more capability, more speed, more convenience, more cost-effectiveness than ever before, but also there is greater vulnerability to complete and utter death and destruction!


This is not just a risk that life could become more difficult or inconvenient–it is literally an existential threat, but who wants to think of it that way?


People, property, and our very society is at risk when our cybersecurity is not what it must be.


It’s a race of defensive against offensive capability. 


And we can’t just play defense, we had better actually win at this! 😉


(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

We Broke The Weather

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So my friend who lives in FL and recently experienced the crazy hurricanes down there said something very interesting to me. 


This was during the series of numerous recent hurricanes in just a few weeks period of time, including Harvey, IRMA, and Maria that devastated Texas, Florida, and Puerto Rico.


He said to me:

“We broke the weather!”


And after decades of warning about the impact of global warming–maybe he is right.


This last September was the most active month for Atlantic hurricanes ever on record. 


Further, we are seeing simultaneously the deadliest wildfires raging in California in its history. 


This only 13 years after the deadliest Tsunami from the Indian Ocean in recorded times killing about a quarter million people!


And only 28 years after the deadliest Tornado occurred in Bangladesh in 1989 that killed 1,300 people.


All these as if the increasing threats of nukes and other weapons of mass destruction and cyberattack weren’t enough to keep you up at night.


As we get more sophisticated and technologically dependent, incredible manmade and natural disasters are threatening us superbig time. 


And over and over again, it is being reported that a well-placed EMP explosion over the United States would kill 90% of the population within a year–talk about a extinction level event!


As we experience temperatures15 degree above normal this fall, even the trees are behaving abnormally as the leaves are not changing to colors of yellows and oranges and reds and purples that we expect and enjoy. 


Nature is messed up by our abuse of the planet and nurture is messed up by megalomaniacs with the weapons to do us in. 


If we don’t correct the dangerous path we are on polluting our planet and over-relying on technology then soon we could be turning horrible colors even if the leaves just fall to the ground or turn to ash. 😉


(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

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Reconquest of the Soviet Union

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Okay, when I saw this map of the Soviet Union pre-1991 breakup, I got it!


Russia lost 14 Former Soviet Union (FSU) states after the fall of the Berlin Wall.

  1. Armenia
  2. Azerbaijan
  3. Belarus
  4. Estonia
  5. Georgia
  6. Kazakhstan
  7. Kyrgystan
  8. Latvia
  9. Lithuania
  10. Moldovia
  11. Tajikistan
  12. Turkenistan
  13. Ukraine
  14. Uzbekistan

Could you imagine the United States or the European Union losing something like that?


Think of California and Texas and more seceding and making their own independent states. 


What would that do to the power and capability of this country?


Hence, when Russia goes into FSUs like Georgia and Ukraine (in red)–does a land grab like with Crimea and Abkhazia and South Ossetia–and threatens others, in their Soviet minds, they are just reclaiming what is/was theres.


Now listen, I am not justifying their aggression and hostile actions, but I am realizing/recognizing how explosive a situation this may end up being–especially since Estonia, Latvia, and Lithuania (in blue) changed sides and are now part of NATO!


Russia–even without the 14 FSUs–is the largest country in the world by territory with over 17 million square miles–that is almost the size of the United States and Canada or and China combined!


Russia may not have the economy of the United States but they are a formidable foe that we least not forget also has the largest nuclear weapons stockpile in the world. 


Russia has a history of creating a large world dominating union and their military forays into the FSUs, support of hostile regimes like Syria and in Iran, sizable war games in Belarus, continuing to militarize the Arctic, interfering in our election, stealing our secrets via Kaspersky Lab software is likely just a shadow of what is yet to come. 


So if you think North Korea and Iran are problems…  😉


(Source Map: here with attribution to Map Collection)